Great things are happening in the Conservation Outreach section here at the DWR. One of the most exciting things I’m working on, as the new events coordinator for the agency, is the upcoming Western Hunting and Conservation Expo.
My favorite part of the festival was the trip that went to the extreme southwest corner of the state to a place called Lytle Ranch. I was with a group of bird photographers and we were richly rewarded for our efforts.
For about a half hour, Phil and I were treated to a non-stop photo opp as Calvin yanked trout through the ice. Most of these trout ranged from 14–16 inches. Except for one Bear Lake cutthroat, all of the fish were splake. All of the fish were well proportioned. Not fat, not skinny. Just right.
In Utah we’re lucky enough to have a long and consistent ice fishing season on most of our favorite waters. I’ve always been a quality over quantity guy, so I’ll share my favorite spots in the southeastern part of the state.
Wild game cooking is rewarding because of the effort involved in pursuing, obtaining and preparing wild table fare. In addition to the actual hunt, there are countless hours of preparing for the hunt—painting the decoys, repairing weights and lines, training the dog and keeping sharp with shooting for those teal that zip in (and mostly out!) of your decoys.
A blanket of snow covers Utah mountains and valleys and frigid temperatures are icing lakes and reservoirs. It’s the time of year when several hunts are over or winding to a close. Guess I should clean my shotgun and put it away until turkey season opens next spring. Or should I?
Fishing for brown trout in the Ogden River can be fantastic. Average fish densities can reach upwards of 6,000 fish per mile of stream. Yes, you read that right: there are tons of fish in the Ogden River.
Hunting the wild turkey in the spring is one of my treasured rituals. It’s the time of the year when I’ve stowed my ice fishing gear and I’m waiting for the lakes and reservoirs to open. Turkey hunting cures cabin fever.
At the very moment I spoke those words, the sky exploded with that familiar, vibrant blur of a rooster pheasant! Startled enough by that one, a second rooster busted from the cover and headed for the trees.
After a few minutes reviewing shotgunning principles, they started taking turns, focusing on one bird at a time, and swinging through after the shot. It was amazing. They both started hitting birds and making some impressive shots.
Fall is the time to get out to the fisheries here in Utah. Fish become more active after water temperatures drop and lakes turn over; they’re preparing to spawn or looking to fatten up for wintertime. As summer comes to an end and hunting season approaches, a few people stow their summer fishing gear. Not me.
Many of the larger rainbow trout were shaped like Spalding footballs, especially those in the 15- to 17-inch size class. Brown trout have also taken on a new look, and the night’s “big fish” was a 20-inch brown trout weighing in at 3.5 pounds.